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Nightmare Fuel / Mushishi

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Dealing with spiritual creatures, even natural ones, can lead to some pretty frightening things.

Spoilers below

  • Remember the episode where the little girl's eyes were infected with mushi? Remember when she finally opened her eyes and...
  • Or the one that eats memories, leading to what is essentially Alzheimer's, and that is completely invisible so long as it is in shadow, so all it takes to get infected is to sit in the shade of the wrong tree?... Really, all of the mushi can be pretty horrific if you aren't careful with interacting with them.
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  • How about the mushi that gave prophetic dreams/made them real? Sure it started out beneficial, but then it got to the point where the dreams started happening in real life... including everyone except the dreamer being covered in green mold and crumbling away like dust.
  • Everything about the "Cotton Spores" story. The mushi itself is creepy enough...I mean, "Hitotake"? That means "mushroom person". Arrrgh! But the reactions of the three humans in the story are almost worse. The husband's anguish, the wife's increasingly deranged behavior, and normally compassionate Ginko coldly telling a sentient mushi that he fully intends to kill it dead...brrr. Ginko carrying it off as a horrible little face in a jar is just icing on the creepy cake.
  • The manga has some more Eye Scream fun that was left out of the anime. Including a story where the Tokoyami in Ginko's left eye cause him intense pain and the empty socket starts leaking eternal darkness.
    • Something similiar to this did happen in the anime, to Ginko's mentor, Nui. It's how she knows the tokoyami are finally coming to claim her.
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    • Same with purple squishy stuff coming out of the forehead, or pink clouds from the ears and mouth.
  • Or rainbows that make you hallucinate and attach to your body. That's right, even rainbows are terrifying in this story.
  • Also strings that float in the sky, that are actually fishing lines for huge flying mushi to grab food with. Oh, and the "food" can be just about anything, by the way. Including humans.
  • The "dog" that the boy draws in the first episode. It comes to life, still appearing as a poorly-made child's drawing. To say the least, the thought of seeing something like that actually walking around gives the willies.
  • In the Zoku-shou episode "The Hand That Caresses the Night," a young hunter can entrance and paralyze animals thanks to the mushi infection, allowing him to simply stroll up and kill his unresisting prey. However, no one in his village will buy his catches because the meat, even freshly-caught, smells rotten. The young man accidentally traps Ginko this way at the beginning of the episode, mistaking him for an animal... and a flashback shows his father, who had the same ability, grew so addicted to the power that he'd go around killing game the family didn't even need and couldn't sell, just for fun. The young man narrowly escapes sharing his father's fate, but his change of heart doesn't come soon enough to prevent his arm from being devoured clean off his body by the flock of birds that's been steadily massing around him throughout the episode.
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  • Episode 6 of Zoku-shou, with a family line of gardeners who are practically serial killers, who chop off heads of young girls to "graft" onto one mushi-infected girl found in a cherry blossom tree to keep her alive over centuries.
  • For a fine dose of Body Horror, there's Mud Grass, with a mushi that makes plant buds and grass (which looks more like a thin succulent plant than actual grass) grow out of legs and arms after contact with it. You may feel uncomfortably itchy during the episode.
    • And then there's the ending to that story. Imagine that your uncle, who took you in and lovingly raised you after the untimely death of your father, was the one who murdered your father in the first place? And once you find this out, he tries to kill you too - only to slip, fall in the river, and drown in a matter of seconds while screaming for you to save him?
  • From "Valley of the Welling Tides", there is the young mother with a starving baby who discovers a glowing white pond in the forest. Both drink from it and soon after, the mother starts producing milk. As the baby grows stronger, though, the mother weakens, until the day she cuts her finger on a blade of grass and bleeds breast milk.


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